Graduates eager to go into the Finance Sector may be looking at careers in Financial Services, Corporate Finance, Public Finance and more, with a variety of organisations including Banks, Hedge Fund Management Firms, Accountancy Firms, Professional Services Organisations, Insurance Brokers and Investment Firms.
Many are based in the City or Canary Wharf, and although there are opportunities available elsewhere, graduates wanting to pursue a career in Finance should be prepared to relocate to the capital if they want to work with the big Financial institutions.
Like Accountancy, Banking and Insurance, Finance is fast-paced and highly competitive, requiring applicants to be fast learners. Candidates must be enthusiastic, energetic and dynamic, and be prepared to work hard. Competition for entry-level positions is high, as they often offer excellent salaries and pay structures. Hopeful applicants need to shine to make it through the application process.
How to Get a Job in Finance
Jobs can be varied, with different requirements depending on the position, but they all share common ground in Financial matters.
Candidates should display the following:
Academic credentials are used to gauge a candidate's work ethic, and for that reason it is important that graduates have a classification of 2:1 or higher. While not always required, a relevant field of study such as Finance or Economics will be an asset. Many employers are likely to ask for GCSE and A Level results as well.
Work Experience or Internships
The Financial sector is extremely competitive, so work experience or an internship will go a long way towards supporting a candidate's application.
Many of the big Financial institutions run summer and holiday programmes to give current students or graduates the opportunity to gain insight and experience. Candidates who make a good impression may benefit from the contacts they make when employment opportunities arise down the line.
Excellent numeracy skills
Roles in Finance require managing budgets, margins, and income with expenditure. Candidates require excellent Maths skills to ensure thorough and accurate work, and should be able to demonstrate an aptitude for working with large amounts of numerical data.
While some employers may not ask for or require it, evidence of excellent qualifications in Maths from GCSE may be an asset.
Ability to analyse, report and present data
The Financial Services Sector requires candidates to be able to analyse, report and present information to a variety of audiences, and to liaise between departments. Excellent communication is vital, both written and verbal, as is an analytical mind.
Graduates need to be sure that their covering letters and CVs are clear and concise, with no room for even the smallest errors.
Ability to build and nurture relationships
Being able to build and nurture relationships with clients is imperative to success in the Financial Sector. Candidates need to display not only excellent communication, but also an ability to provide excellent customer service. Candidates should be able to hold the client's needs and expectations in the forefront of their minds.
Graduates can show strong interpersonal skills through previous experience involving written communications, team work or customer service.
Excellent organisational and time-management skills
When applying for positions in Public, Corporate or Private Finance, candidates need to demonstrate that they can deliver to a client or company on time and to a high standard. This is important early on, as employees in Finance are often expected to hit the ground running.
The Financial Sector is fast-paced and complex. Candidates should put in the research before they send off any applications to make sure they understand what the company does, how it fits into the wider Financial spectrum, what the role requires and what the candidate can personally bring to the position. Read on for a better understanding of Commercial Awareness.